intuitive sensor

Of the four dichotomies, the largest discrepancy lies in the difference between Sensors and Intuitives. Whereas there is an approximate 50/50 split in the population between the other preferences, a full 70% of the population prefers Sensing versus only 30% favoring Intuition.

When you distill it down, the difference between Sensors and Intuitives is this: Sensors prefer reliability of information, and Intuitives prefer speed and depth of insight. This ends up manifesting itself a couple of unique ways. First, Intuitives learn to trust pattern recognition to help them understand information quickly and see things that aren’t ‘there’. Basically, they extrapolate large amounts of information from only a few data points.

Sensors, of course, have this same ability. But they don’t trust it, and so they don’t hone it. Instead, they trust reliable information – things that can be verified in the Real World. Therefore, they become masters of historical information – their own history as well as other people’s. They also become fantastic at manipulating objects in real time. There is no need to question reality when it’s right there in front of you. Reality is reliable. Speculation isn’t.

Second, how they see information informs how both these preferences see time. If real, reliable, solid information is what you choose to focus upon, then the here-and-now context becomes far more important, as well as past information (which used to be the here-and-now context). Sensors can’t rely on what hasn’t happened yet, so the future becomes far less interesting. On the other hand, Intuitives are already comfortable seeing what ‘isn’t there’ – as in, they’re comfortable theorizing and speculating on what could be in both the here-and-now as well as into the future. The past doesn’t really hold their interest any more than a reference point for future predictions.

Third, these differences alter both values and basic interests. For Sensors, values surround things like family, tradition, getting into action, old friends, etc… these are all rooted in the known and knowable, and therefore can be trusted. For Intuitives, values focus more on the cerebral – possibilities, memes, paradigms, perspectives and concepts. Conversation will generally revolve around these things, with little interest in small talk.

Both Sensors and Intuitives have an important role. Sensors often “hold down the fort” – uphold infrastructures that keep us going as a society. Intuitives are generally the “trailblazers” – coming up with new ways of looking at and doing things which fashion new technologies and paradigms. It makes sense that fewer Intuitives would be needed – too much innovation and everything collapses. But without innovation, the world stagnates.

Understanding and appreciating these differences is how we cooperate to create both a stable system as well as pathways to whole new worlds.


  • AM
    • AM
    • June 7, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Mary Ellen, I’m an INFJ and have been with an ISFJ for almost 30 years. For years — up until very recently — I was very frustrated by our communication. He and I do well with the concrete, day-to-day things, but anytime we talk about things outside of that, he shuts me down. I talk about the things I “see” (intuit) but to him it’s not real, so he pulls out all the data on why I am wrong. I stopped talking to him about anything that interested me, but it has made for a very listless, unfulfilling relationship where I tend to keep my distance emotionally. Not so healthy.

    In the last year both he and I learned our MBTI types and it has made the past decades make so much more sense. I am learning to trust myself and really * become * myself, instead of believing that I’m stupid and always wrong, which is what I took away from him shutting me down with evidence and facts. He still can’t see what I see, naturally, so conversation is still hard, but it’s a little better. I’m able to argue my side and sometimes he shrugs and says “well I guess so…” but you can tell he’s fuzzy on it.

    I do appreciate his grounded-in-reality perspective. His perception of the way things are helps pull me out of anxiety spirals. I have learned to trust his analysis of things. He has told me he appreciates the way I’ve pushed him to get out of his comfort zone and try new things and extend himself. I have been able to show him a different side of things with my perspective and he’s changed his mind/thinking about some issues.

    I guess the answer to your question is — a relationship between INFJ and ISFJ is hard. We operate on different planes. It’s not all bad. I think we can be good for each other, but it’s really important that we work on the communication part.

  • Carol
    • Carol
    • May 9, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    I very much doubt that there is a population of 75% intuitives in Britain now. Most of them seem incapable of any kind of independent or critical thinking and seem to think the future is irrelevant! Luckily I am 97% introverted (INTJ-T) so don’t feel any need to waste my time with them!

  • Carol
    • Carol
    • May 9, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    I can’t imagine how anyone who is extrovert can be a good match for anyone who is introvert. But then I am 97% introvert, so maybe that’s truer for me than for some introverts!

    • April 30, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I’M AN INFJ , MY BOYFRIEND IS AN ISFJ, We are so very different and it frustrates me that he only focuses on the now never has he prepared anything for future. I’m always getting things done for future. He hates that I’m unable to tell him split second answers to a question especially when he asks me whats wrong. I feel if I tell him he won’t understand anyway. So I just remain silent and try to deal with the energies and things I feel constantly. I wish I could be more like him and able to just not let things get so close but if I wall off it is extremely bad and the the dark side isn’t a good place to have me go. I try to see and stay positive and I avoid negativity like the plague. Do you think INFJ & INSJ are compatible? What would you advise on some areas where we can find commonality?

  • CJ
    • CJ
    • January 22, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Intuitives, embrace who you are! You don’t need anybody’s approval or acceptance to be yourselves. Those who say that only few people stay by your side, rejoice – these are the real ones and worth keeping. You see the world in a unique way, and this is not a curse, it’s a blessing. Isn’t it more interesting and exciting to live like this? All is well. Accept and love yourselves. After all, you don’t have another you. Happiness to all ;)

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